how do we dialogue with heresy hunters?

It’s happened again. Thanks to the detailed stats and comment links provided by WordPress, I discovered that my blog was being referenced by yet another self-professed gate-keeper of orthodoxy. I shared a similar experience recently. At the time, I refused to give the accusers more notoriety than they deserved. I stand by that now and will not share the name of the blogs that published the accusatory article. (The article was written by one and re-posted by another.)

The article accuses the Prairie Messenger of promoting heresy and dissent, and singles me out as a columnist who is “indicative of the open dissent”. It then lists some of the topics and articles I have written about on this catholic dialogue blog.

My first reaction was to perhaps post a polite response to the accusations. I decided to leave the accusations lying in mid-air with hopes that they will vaporize on their own.

Perhaps it is time to post a warning by-line on catholic dialogue… available in HD! Depending on your viewing area and theological leanings, the words you read may be deemed as Heresy and Dissent.

Sometimes, all you can do is try to have a wee bit of a chuckle. But, the spirit behind these accusations is no laughing matter. In our politically correct world, there are some words that are no longer acceptable because their history is just too horrific.

I would like to propose that the words ‘heretic’ and ‘dissenter’ be added to that list.

Aren’t these merely theological definitions for those whose religious belief or practice is contrary to orthodox doctrine, you ask?

Perhaps, but these words also have a historical association with vile and violent religious persecutions by those who self-righteously claimed sole possession of the truth. The call to wipe out heretics inspired armies of crusaders. Trotting to the authorities with false accusations of heresy or dissent became the ultimate revenge in a dispute with your neighbour. Sadistic inquisitors terrified, tortured, and killed their victims in the name of keeping religion pure.

Accusations of heresy or dissent are too often associated with a mean-spiritedness that has no place in a religious community. It saddens me, but it also challenges us to seek ways to bridge the current divides; for they must be bridged if we are to move forward together as a united people of God.

Have you ever been in a situation where dialogue seemed impossible?

What strategies can be used to promote dialogue in these situations?